TAMPA – The Bears offense and special teams combined to commit three costly turnovers in the first half against the Buccaneers, but the defense made its share of mistakes in Sunday's 29-7 loss.
The most glaring errors were three holding penalties—two on Danny Trevathan and one on Willie Young—that all came on failed third-down plays that would have otherwise resulted in punts.
"Our defense had their hand in it," said coach John Fox. "There were three times we got them off the field on third down and we were sloppy with our technique and got called for holding."
Trevathan's penalty came on an incomplete pass on third-and-four on the game's opening possession. Instead of a three-and-out for the Bears defense, the Buccaneers picked up three more first downs before eventually taking a 3-0 lead on Nick Folk's 42-yard field goal.
View photos from the game as the Bears take on the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
After the Bears turned the ball over at the Chicago 35 early in the second quarter, two apparent third-down stops were nullified by penalties against Trevathan and Young. The Buccaneers took advantage, extending their lead to 17-0 on Jacquizz Rodgers' 1-yard touchdown run.
"It was kind of rough because we got stops and they called holding, but that's part of football," said outside linebacker Pernell McPhee. "We've just got to lock in more. Once we lock in more and watch film more and practice even harder because of the situation we're in, I think everybody will be better. But we've just got to say enough is enough' we're not going to shoot ourselves in the foot. We're just going to practice hard and study hard and execute."
Thin line: Already shorthanded with guard Kyle Long inactive while he continues to recover from an ankle injury, the Bears offensive line lost two more players to injuries Sunday.
Long's replacement at left guard, Tom Compton, exited with a hip injury in the first half. Hroniss Grasu then entered the game at center, with Cody Whitehair moving from center to left guard.
When right guard Josh Sitton left with a rib injury in the second half, Bradley Sowell came in at left guard while Whitehair moved to right guard.
"That's a tough situation for an offensive lineman to be in," said quarterback Mike Glennon. "I think that's the first time Bradley has ever played guard and the defense knows you're passing on every play. I'm proud of those guys and I appreciate everything they did."
Whitehair revealed that it was the first time he's ever played three different positions in one game. "Obviously we know we only suit [up] seven guys, so we have to be ready for anything," he said.
Another injury: Subbing for the injured Jerrell Freeman at inside linebacker, Nick Kwiatkoski exited with a pectoral injury. Kwiatkoski was active early, registering four tackles on the Buccaneers' opening possession. He was replaced by Christian Jones.
Playing takeaway: The Bears generated their first takeaway of the season midway through the third quarter when McPhee stripped the ball from running back Charles Sims. Leonard Floyd scooped up the fumble and returned it 20 yards to the Chicago 35.
Ground to a halt: The Bears running game mustered just 20 yards on 16 carries, an average of only 1.3 yards. Tarik Cohen gained 13 yards on seven attempts, while Jordan Howard had seven yards on nine carries.
"It's not obviously what we expected," Whitehair said. "We expected to come out and run the ball and that didn't happen today."
Marked man: Cohen led the Bears with eight receptions for 55 yards. It appeared that the Buccaneers focused on the rookie after his breakout performance in last Sunday's season opener against the Falcons.
"I think they noticed him," Glennon said. "There was one time when there was a nickel matched up on him where last week it might have been a linebacker. There was also one play when [cornerback] Brent Grimes was on him. We'll see how teams handle him going forward."
Late debut: Receiver Tanner Gentry, an undrafted rookie who was added to the 53-man roster last Tuesday, caught his first two NFL passes for 27 yards, both in the fourth quarter.
"I thought that was good for Tanner to step up with a couple catches there at the end," Glennon said. "It was good to see him come off the bench. He hopped in a two-minute drill and made a couple plays against a Pro Bowl corner [Grimes], so that was good to see."